Michigan looked very good in its season opener, but it was against Western Michigan. Everyone had this week two matchup with Washington circled for months as U-M's first real test, then the Huskies went out and lost to FCS Montana in week one. There's no doubt that UW has more talent than Western, but they're obviously not firing on all cylinders yet. Still, the Huskies are going to be frustrated, hungry and ready to change the early-season narrative.
Dan Raley covers Washington for Husky Maven and, like everyone around that program, is concerned about what happened last week. Still, the Huskies are talented and will definitely be looking to right some wrongs this weekend. Here's what Raley knows about the team and what he thinks Michigan fans should be on the look out for.
The Huskies usually play good defense, especially against the pass. This should enable them to be competitive on their trip into Big Ten country. They kept Montana in check, giving up just three points for three quarters, as well they should, before the UW offensive shortcomings enabled the FCS opponent to gain field position, wear down the hosts and pull an Appalachian State. Edefuan Ulofoshio plays like an old Michigan linebacker, tackling everybody. Trent McDuffie is one of the better cornerbacks in the country and you shouldn’t throw his way. Ryan Bowman is a squatty but surprisingly good edge rusher, who drew three holding penalties in the opener.
Offense, offense and almost no offense. The Huskies scored a lone touchdown on the game’s opening drive against Montana and were never heard from again. Their pro-style attack is not very imaginative. They fail to stretch the field much at all, even when all of their wide receivers are healthy, and possibly four of them won’t be for this game. All of those pass-catchers are one-time starters and dealing with assorted injuries. The biggest disappointment in the season-opening loss was the inability of the UW’s huge and veteran offensive line (6-6 and 320 pounds per man) to be dominant. Look for a change or two up front for the Huskies in Ann Arbor.
Three Players To Know
WR, Giles Jackson, No. 0
Remember him? Six months after leaving the Wolverines for the portal transfer, this little speedster is back in Ann Arbor with his new team. He could be a first-time starter for the Huskies, who might be without those four wide receivers on the shelf. Coming off the bench in the opener, Jackson didn’t really scare anybody, catching four passes for 15 yards and returning a pair of kickoffs for another 38, with a long runback of 20. He may have been saving himself for the trip back to The Big House.
CB, Trent McDuffie, No. 22
McDuffie, the latest in a long line of NFL-bound defensive backs, was one of the few Washington players who had a decent season-opening game in the epic loss. He’s a few ticks slower than Jackson in the 40-yard dash (4.47 to Giles’ 4.43) and you can’t throw on him. Try the other side. Unlike many of his teammates, McDuffie doesn’t take games off. He had a pair of pass break-ups against Montana and downed a punt on the opposing 3. While a sophomore in pandemic eligibility standing, he’ll be in the pros at this time next year.
TE, Cade Otton, No. 87
With or without the receiving corps so depleted, the Huskies usually look to this guy first in the passing attack. Always about 10-15 yards downfield. He led his team in pass catching in the short season a year ago. If the Huskies choose to try and grind this game out on the ground, look for them to run behind left tackle Jaxson Kirkland and the 6-5, 250-pound Otton, both first-team All-Pac-12 selections last year, both known for their blocking and both four-year starters.
The Huskies suddenly are a very wounded team, no longer ranked in the AP Poll. They were embarrassed in Week 1 — flat out shamed. Their pro-style offense, designed by offensive coordinator John Donovan, who got fired at Penn State, is not very imaginative and scares no one. Washington maybe regains a little pride in this one, but opens the season 0-2.